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Processing marked subjective relations: forewarning effect? An eye tracking experiment

By Saskia de Leeuw


Kamalski (2007) showed in a self-paced moving window paradigm that making a distinction between subjective and objective connectives is of cognitive relevance: while objective coherence markers caused shorter processing times of the last segment in comparison to the objective implicit version, subjective coherence markers did not show this speeding up effect in comparison to its implicit counterpart. Also, subjective markers caused shorter reaction times on the authorial intention statements in comparison to the implicit equivalent. Objective markers did not show this effect. The decreased persuasive power of (high involvement) texts with subjective coherence markers may indicate that readers experience resistance to persuasion. Kamalski concludes that the absence of a speeding up effect, together with the offline effects on the perceived authorial intention and persuasion scores in the subjective explicit versions, indicate that subjective markers cause a forewarning effect. \ud However, there are also other explanations for the longer processing times that are found at the last segment. Noordman & Vonk (1997) argue that explicitly realized causal relations in general are faster processed than implicit causal relations.\ud Like Kamalski (2007), the present eye tracking experiment investigated what the online and offline effects of subjective and objective coherence markers are. Previous research showed that markers have a facilitating effect on the reading process (e.g. Noordman & Vonk, 1992). We would like to specify this general facilitating effect of coherence markers, in a similar way to Kamalski (2007). Our results indicate a cognitive distinction between subjective and objective coherence markers. What we found is that there is a facilitating effect when an objective marker (like daardoor) is present (decrease in reading times). We found no facilitating effect of subjective markers. These results suggest that in the case of subjective markers the facilitating effect that markers generally have, is compensated by the forewarning process that is specifically related to subjective markers (like dus). Our offline measures show that the subjective explicit version makes the reader more aware of the persuasive intent of the author in comparison to the subjective implicit version. At the same time, the subjective explicit version is more persuasive in comparison to its implicit counterpart. The increased awareness of the persuasive authorial intention has a different effect on the persuasion scores than we predicted from previous experiments on the forewarning effect (Petty & Cacioppo, 1977; De Leeuw & Den Ouden, 2006)

Topics: Letteren, subjectivity, eye tracking
Year: 2007
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